Evanston’s Piven Theatre Workshop has announced the Midwest Premiere of Melancholy Play: a chamber musical by Tony-nominated playwright Sarah Ruhl, with new music by New York composer Todd Almond and direction by Polly Noonan.

Sarah Ruhl’s Melancholy Play had its world premiere in 2002 at Piven Theatre Workshop and starred Noonan in the lead role as Tilly.  A decade later, Ruhl teamed up with Almond and developed Melancholy Play as a new chamber musical.  It was workshopped in 2012 via 13p in Brooklyn, and will return to the Piven Theatre Workshop stage for its Midwest Premiere.

“We rarely present musicals but knew we had to jump at the chance to work with Sarah again and share this gem with Chicago audiences, said Piven Theatre Workshop artistic director Jennifer Green. “She has taken this quirky, lovely story to a new and different level from when it was first staged here in (2002).  We’ve got Chicago’s rising musical theater talent performing to Todd’s gorgeous score, accompanied by a live chamber ensemble.  This is going to be a special night out for Piven audiences to discover.”

In this lighthearted farce, bank teller Tilly (Stephanie Stockstill) possess an exquisite mystical melancholy which eventually wrecks havoc on the lives of those near and far. The audiences is taken along for the ride as Tilly tries to right the ship. 

Noonan, director of the highly acclaimed production of The Language Archive last year at Piven, returns to helm the show she once starred in over a decade ago.

Said Noonan, “I love this play. If plays are blueprints, catalysts, then this play is a recipe for joy.  When Sarah and Jessica (Thebus) invited me to play Tilly (in 2002) I had given up acting, so Melancholy Play brought me back to the theatrer. There is so much humor in the play mixed in with the melancholy.  I am thrilled that Piven is producing such an ambitious project…It’s so wonderful to think of the Piven Theatre enlivened again with the sounds of Melancholy Play.”

The production will run April 30 – June 7, 2015 at Piven Theatre Workshop, 927 Noyes Street in Evanston. For more information or for tickets, call 47-866-8049 or visit www.piventheatre.org online. 

Sarah Ruhl to make her return to Piven Theatre Workshop in Evanston with the work she first workshopped there, Melancholy Play, in its Midwest Premiere (photo courtesy of Piven Theatre Workshop).

Evanston's Piven Theatre to Present Midwest Premiere of Sarah Ruhl's Melancholy Play